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Report: 5 NJ Coastal Landmarks at Risk From Global Warming

By Beth DeFalco (Newsday) - May 25, 2006

TRENTON, N.J. — By the end of the century, gamblers may be pulling up to Atlantic City casinos in gondolas instead of tour buses if the predictions of a New Jersey citizens’ group are correct.

The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group on Thursday also identified Cape May, Long Beach Island, the Meadowlands and the Delaware Bay Shore as areas most at risk of being submerged under water or subjected to chronic flooding by the year 2100.

“It’s not a pretty picture,” said Suzanne Leta, NJPIRG’s energy advocate.

Using data from a 2005 Princeton report, NJPIRG mapped the sea level rise for the state and found that 1 to 3 percent of New Jersey will potentially be submerged and 6 to 9 percent is vulnerable to chronic flooding.

“We’re putting more and more people in harm’s way,” said Jeff Tittel, head of the state chapter of the Sierra Club. “The problem is that the areas most at risk are also the state’s fastest growing areas.”

In its report last year, Princeton forecast an ominous future for the shoreline but didn’t identify towns or areas by name. That report showed that the Atlantic Ocean, swollen by melting ice caps, could rise by up to 4 feet by 2100, moving the coastline 480 feet inland in a worst-case scenario.

In turn, that would open the door for so-called 100-year floods occurring every five years, the report said.

Citing the report, NJPIRG called on Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the Legislature to enact policy measures to curb the state’s global warming emissions.

“Fortunately, we have the solutions at hand to ensure that the Jersey Shore is more than pictures and memories.

Among the suggestions the group made to Corzine and the Legislature include:

_ Updating New Jersey’s energy codes for new residential and commercial buildings, ensuring that all new buildings consume 30 percent less energy.

_ Adopting minimum efficiency standards for all new heating furnaces and boilers sold in the state.

_ Doubling funding for the state’s renewable energy rebate program.

_ Charge gas-guzzling car buyers at least a 10 percent fee for vehicles that get 22 miles per gallon or less.

“If we expect the rest of the world to solve the problem of global warming,” Leta said, “we have to do our part in New Jersey.”

On the Net:

New Jersey Public Interest Research Group: http://njpirg.org

Princeton University: www.princeton.edu